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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

OFFICIAL HISTORY: ITS PITFALLS AND CRITERIA
is one matter which the outsider cannot very well know
about (but must wish to know), and that is the question
oif the machinery or the series of processes through which
documents pass at their various stages of selection and
elimination, particularly if there are places or cases where
people other than historians (representatives of govern-
ment departments for example) have any participation
at all in the work or the discussions. It would even be
useful if all the rules governing the work of official
historians could be published; since it is conceivable,
for example, that regulations restricting certain powers
or privileges to a chief editor would raise an issue of
some significance. But outside such realms as these
there are ways* of keeping official history " safe ", just
as there are ways (one is permitted to gather) in which
a modern newspaper can be induced to exercise its own
self-discipline in the interests of government. It is
essential for everybody to be aware that the "whole
problem of " censorship " to-day has been transformed
into the phenomenon of " auto-censorship "a matter
to be borne in mind even when the people involved
are only indirectly the servants of government, or are
attached by no further tie than the enjoyment of priv-
ileges that might be taken away. * It is even true that
where all are " pals " there is no need for censorship,
no point where it is necessary to imagine that one man
is being overruled by another. And in any case it is
possible to conceive of a State in which members of
different organisations could control or prevent a revela-
tion with nothing more than a hint or a wink as they
casually passed one another amidst the crowd at.some